Thursday, July 10, 2014

Our Very First Guest Post! By Heidi Moxley

This is our very first guest post and it couldn't come from anyone I adore more. Over the years, Heidi has become a friend, not just an associate. She owns a shop called Party Prepaganda. You have seen her things in our parties. Those adorable invitations need awesome envelopes and Heidi can help you out! She is also one if the behind the scenes people at Anders Ruff and she does a lot of projects over there! Here is her post....

This is Heidi Moxley, project assistant for Anders Ruff, and I am super exited to be guest posting on GreatStitch today! Brenda has truly become a dear friend to me and I am so honored to be able to share my daughters 4th birthday on her blog.  Not surprising to most of you, Brenda was of course a pivotal part of this memory making event!  

As a mother with little girls I have waited patiently for the day where one of my girls would want a tea party that required real guests and not just stuffed bears and bunnies!  So, when my 3 year old wanted a tea party for her 4th birthday I was ecstatic.  As with every other tea party she really wanted her beautiful and well loved doll “Pretty” to be a part of the event so the  Tea Party with Baby Dolls and Tutus collection form our shop was the perfect theme! 

Truly one of the highlights of the day for Tyler was that her and Pretty got to wear ADORABLE matching birthday outfits Brenda had made for her.  They coordinated perfectly with the theme and party decor and even had a tulle tutu to wear under the skirt to give it a little added jazz! 
 As belle of the ball that outfit gave her quite the confidence.

When the girls arrived each one got to pick out a tutu for their special snuggle friend they brought with them!  Then we had a long table set up with little tea cups and lots of stickers so they could decorate their own little tea cup.  We made these out of clear plastic cocktail cups wrapped with white cardstock and a handle made of cardstock.  We wanted something the girls could decorate, but that we didn’t have to worry about breaking and these turned out to be perfect!

I did attempt to make a round pinata that I was going to cover with flowers, but my round pinata ended up looking like an amoeba and not a pretty one.  So, we pleated some tissue paper around it so it “looked” round.  Then we attached one string to the trap door at the bottom and tucked a bunch of others in.  Each girl got to pull on a string, but only one actually opened the door.  This way everyone got a turn and there were no tears.  Inside were enough goody bags for each girl to get one.  The goody bags were stuffed with bubbles, candy, little princess cameras, and rings.

Finally, the girls decorated their own cupcakes.  We had several different colors of frosting and various toppings for them to over indulge on.  Then we all sat down with our tutu wearing baby dolls and had a tea party!  Each guest left with a tutu bag that had  paper dolls, lollipops, and tea cup chapstick.  It was an incredible day all around!

Tea Party with Baby Dolls and Tutus Printables:  Anders Ruff
Birthday Girl and her Dolls Outfit:  Great Stitch
Headbands:  Drop of Honey Bowtique

Monday, July 7, 2014

Hooray for the Red, White, and Blue!

As we showed you in our Glorious 4th post, we did our annual 4th of July celebration with our neighbors and friends. We tried out our fireworks/watermelon stand on Friday night and it was a huge success. For the sweet little kidlets that were too young to set off fireworks but old enough to want to do something in all the fun, it made them very happy. I think it's always great when kids can learn a sense of commerce, and they took it on like pros. We hadn't told them anything ahead of time so they came up with this all on their own...they had a name, prices, they figured out waiters, and displayed the treats beautifully!

All of this worked exactly as hoped. There was one thing that wasn't planned that happened. I want to tell you about that. Our little buddy Claire who has been one of our GreatStitch models from the very beginning is very precious. But she impressed me even more last night. What started out as a way to have some fun with the little stand turned into her wanting to collect the money and donate it to cancer patient care. Now how can you get more precious than that?

For a child to have so much fun with something and then at the end of it turn around and instead of buying bubble gum or elastic bands, want to donate it to cancer patients....that is just amazing. It filled my heart to the brim!

We have so loved watching these kiddos grow up and being a part of their birthdays and celebrations. I just can't wait to see what they will do with their lives as young adults!

Happy 4th....and great job Claire! Great job to her mom and dad for raising her to think of that!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

A Glorious Fourth

When the wind comes sweeping down the plains in Oklahoma around the Fourth of July, it's likely to carry the smoke and echoes of fireworks.  At our home, we get a permit and shoot off fireworks every year! 

As the years have gone by, our celebration has gotten bigger. Neighbors and friends have joined in with us. We wanted to do a kid's themed fireworks party this year to capture the fun and excitement of this important celebration on their level.  Two of our favorite kiddos, Claire and Jack came to get in on the fun.


         We loved the idea of them having a watermelon 
sparkler fireworks stand. If they keep themselves busy with that, then the big boys can take care of the fireworks. These amazing photos were taken by our own Gypsy Canon. Rhonda is such a great help to us!

We were very excited  to find a local resource for cookies and cakes to put in our stand.  All Things Cake provided scrumptious watermelon sugar cookies that tasted every bit as good as they looked. The kiddos couldn't wait to dig in!

The beautiful custom Cake Pop Stand came from ClayaGoGo.  The colors matched our party theme perfectly.  It is so special to have a piece of pottery created just for me!!  

The red and white fondant lollipops came from Edible Details. She does amazing fondant work. You will be seeing more of her things in our parties in the future. She does beautiful work! The blue candy is Martha Washington Balls. Those are usually reserved for Christmas, but we thought why not make some with some blue chocolate and roll them in sprinkles. It was a very nice addition...and can something named Washington be wrong for the 4th of July?

We got our printables from our friends at Anders Ruff.  We used these for tags on the gift bags, water bottle labels, flags for the watermelon stars and covers for the matchbooks. They have great ideas for the 4th of July and this year is no different! We always love their new ideas!

The custom kid's outfits came from GreatStitch.  The ruffled twirl skirt, personalized shirts, bows, vest and "Uncle Sam pants" helped the kids get into the party spirit. We had a great time with our lovely neighbors getting ready for the 4th of July!

John Adams wrote a letter to his wife Abigail about the Fourth of July and the signing of the Declaration of Independence in which he said, "I believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival.  It ought to be celebrated by pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations from one of this continent to the other." 

 Here at GreatStitch, we're doing out part to celebrate our dear country! So don't let the 4th pass without having some watermelon or brownies or whatever your favorite family thing to do is. Let's pass on our traditions and tell the stories. It matters.

The Good Stuff

Party Styling: Brenda and Rhonda Byers
Photography: Gypsy Canon
Party Outfits: GreatStitch
Party Printables: AndersRuff
Watermelon Cookies: All Things Cake
Red and White Lollipops: Edible Details
Cake Pop Stand: Clay A GoGo
Fireworks: SkyLine Fireworks

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ahhh....New York

 It's amazing how many wonderful dreams the "city that never sleeps" can inspire!

 New York City has so many possibilities. What I didn't know is that there are many options for GreatStitch. I sound like a tourist...but I have been to NYC before. We did the tourist thing that time. This time it was about finding gems. And boy did we! 

The best and most informative thing we found was at Mood Fabrics. We spoke with the owners and they were so kind and helpful. And their store...WOW. I am a silk lover from the get-go. It is the single most inspiring thing have ever found! Row after row of silk! Silk done in ways I had never heard of before! I might have brought a piece of silk twill home just to see how it sews up! Silk Twill!! Who would have thought it was even done, and then who would have known it would be out there....of course, at Mood! Thank you Mood!! 

Then we went to see Charles. Charles James that is! Well, his work as displayed at the MET. These are some of the beauties....

 This green dress is "kin" to the grey one worn by Angelina Jolie in The Tourist. That dress is how we first found Charles James. We had to see what else this designer had made. The movie is worth watching just for the clothing she wears.

 He just so happened to be one of the designers that changed the world of fashion. He thought outside the box and created things that are so complex people are still studying them.

 This next dress is so interesting to me because he cut and shaped 6" silk ribbons to fit the gown! 

It is said that Charles James thought his greatest contribution to fashion were his coats. Note how the seams run on these shoulders. It is so interesting to study his things.

When we were done at the MET we had to go look for some of these fabrics we had just seen. A man that helped me in one of the many garment district stores we visited made a lasting impression on all of us. He asked where we were from and when he found out he then said, "You don't have this in your village"(pointing to the trim we were getting). In his thick Armenian accent he explained how we appear in our village. He was extolling the virtues of NYC. After that, anything that came up, we said,"We don't have that in our village."

We did take a little time off from the research to do something really important! We added a member to our family. Bryant asked Kensy to marry him....and she said yes!

We had so much fun as a family in NYC.

Even Dylan's Candy Bar was fun in the rain. We did an enormous amount of "research" there. The place is laid out where just walking though it is an experience. 3 floors full of everything candy related! They have jars on the 1st floor with names on them that you can fill with almost any kind of candy you ever dreamed of! Old, new, all of it there. And if you go to do your own research, be sure to have a soda upstairs in the cupcake dinner tables. 

The food in New York City was also inspiring. We were treated like royalty. If you have Celiac, you know the drama of going to a restaurant. They look at you like you have horns and are interrupting their world. Well, not in NYC! They know all about it and not only have menus, real menus, but they tell you if you accidentally order something that is not ok. This particular item was of great interest to me! Pasta is something of a rarity! This is pumpkin pasta. Color me happy.

We had an amazing time in NYC. You just can't see it all in one trip.

Keep watching for new designs and ideas from GreatStitch inspired by New York City and Charles James. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

The TomKat Studio And Barbie

We do a lot of parties, and we see an even greater amount of parties.  Seeing Barbie done with a modern twist is refreshing and nostalgic all at the same time.

The use of the black and white fabric on the table and also in the straws is a great callback to a simpler time and place when Barbie first appeared. The balloons and confetti make it modern.

What little girl doesn't love an amazing Barbie, and what Mom doesn't love an amazing party? The TomKat Studio was one of the first party people we started noticing when we started out on this birthday party journey almost 5 years ago now. We love the attention to detail she shows in everything she does. The pictures are always so inspirational.


To be able to have these parties accessible to us "normal" people is even more amazing. People are in business to make money. You can't do anything different and stay in business. But when a company who has a great business finds a way to share, it warms my heart and makes life a little better for all of us. The TomKat Studio has offered free printables for this party here on her blog!!!

How easy does that make the next party? A Barbie fashion show...DONE! Can it get any better than done?


Most of you who know me know my story. I'm an old lady waiting on grandkids. I am not a young blond in the party scene. BUT I am very passionate about parties. Because of my daughter's struggle with cancer it is so crystal clear to me that memories are important, both to the child and to the parents. Take good pictures. Get good ideas...make it last, and make it important. They do remember. They will remember.

So go get your free printables and have a ball...this is a party they will enjoy, and you will too because you didn't stay up til 3AM trying to find things at the last minute. Here they are!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lobster Macaroni

One of our favorite places to eat is Andolini's in Tulsa. They have a varied menu off Pizza and Italian food. I cannot tell you how the other food tastes because I cannot get past their "Opulent Macaroni and Cheese." They have posted their recipe online, but I will repost it here so that we all have it ready reference. I am also making changes to include the Lobster that we put into the macaroni and cheese. Kids love macaroni and cheese and then you add the lobster and it is so yum! We took two lobsters and steamed them for 7 minutes. Then we cracked and peeled them and took out the meat in small chunks to add to the macaroni. To make it gluten free the only thing different is the noodles.

Andolini's Opulent Mac & Cheese

6 Tbsp. butter
Garlic to taste
½ C heavy cream
¼ C Romano cheese
1/3 C Mozzarella cheese
¼ C Shredded parmesan Cheese
Pasta of your choice, cooked & drained
Fresh shredded basil for garnish
After the dish is assembled, bake in individual baker bowls or casserole until bubbly and slightly browned.

Sautee garlic in 3 T of butter. Cook noodles, Melt butter add cheese and melt stirring constantly. Throw in the noodles, stir well and *Add steamed shredded lobster at the last minute so it doesn't overcook. 

The printables came from Anders Ruff, The fork is from When I was Your Age.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sea Fever

The lure of the sea touches something deep in the heart and imagination. Once sea fever takes hold, there is no cure! Walk next to a boy looking out across open water, hand over his eyes against the glare as he watches a tall ship glide past. Hear the crashing waves beating on the rocks.  Sit on sand still warm from the sun while the stars twinkle overhead and the sweeping beam of a lighthouse guides vessels through the dark. This is where sea fever starts.

 We brought the excitement and thrill of the ancient call of the sea indoors with a nautical themed party for Rory. It was great fun to see their eyes when they walked in the room! This is why we do parties. The memories are so important for kids...and moms!

The Coloring Wall from Anders Ruff was such a hit it was hard to get the kids to stop coloring long enough to eat.  They do such amazing work and did all the printables. The detail in these printables is first quality all the way down to the rope around the circle to put the twine was clearly visible! The craft paper boxes came from Pick Your Plum.

  Birthday party attire was furnished by GreatStitch.  Custom shirts, bucket hats and a pillowcase dress for Rory and Reese all featured the nautical theme.  


The photographer that did all this amazing work is Mallory Hall Photography. One of the things I love about photography is that you can catch moments. I think Mallory did such an awesome job with that!!

 We loved the envelopes we found from a new company that a dear friend Heidi just started PartyPrepaganda. You will not find a sweeter person to work with and we loved the nautical feel of these navy striped envelopes. They went so well with the Anders Ruff invitation!


They say the blue lobster is extremely rare—only one in two million—but we were able to capture this reclusive creature for place mats and fry boxes from When I Was Your Age.  (I adore their name!!)  They also provided custom forks for the party. We made a lovely apple dip to go with the apples that were in our fry boxes. 

The little bitty bags and straws came from More Sprinkled Joy. They made perfect crayon holders!!The printables are Anders Ruff.

 "Opulent Mac and Cheese"....That's what Andolini's calls it. It is only my favorite dish right now. They make it gluten free which is really hard to find in a restaurant. They actually did a TV feature and put the recipe is so worth it! We added some steamed lobster to kick it up another if it needed anything else!!! If you are ever in Tulsa, the restaurant is amazing! They give pizza dough to kids to have something to do while they wait! The jars came from Specialty Bottle.

We used our limes as little vases with our daisies.

Party favors included a special 3-2-1 cake mix.  This incredibly simple recipe provides individual cake portions.  Mix an angel food cake mix with a regular cake mix.  Take 3 tablespoons of the mix, and 2 tablespoons of water in a mug and microwave for one minute.  That fast you have cake!  You can also add chocolate chips, nuts or coconut to make it even better. The labels were part of the party pack from Anders Ruff.


 We rounded out the Lobster Mac and Cheese with a blueberry and pecan spinach salad and apples with Snickers dipping sauce. 

The chocolate covered Oreos with anchors came from EZ FAVORS Lollipop Shop  and O Sweet Cakes provided lighthouse sugar cookies.  

 Shelly from KC Cakes and Bakes has been such a great friend to us and came and helped with the last minute stuff for this party. Her nephew is our little party man! She did these cucumber boats! The flags are Anders Ruff.

Piggy Bank Parties is becoming a staple for all our parties. They do the most amazing favor boxes that you can print out and glue together. So perfect for last minute Lizzies like me! You can also ask them to do custom, just provide a little more time.  These are their sailboats that we just had to include as decoration, they are not just favor boxes.      

Nothing can take the place of the sea, but until we next sail with the tide, this takes us there.

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by...
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.


The Good Stuff:

  Party Styling: GreatStitch, Brenda and Rhonda Byers
Nautical Invitation & Printable Graphics: Anders Ruff Shop
  Professional Photography: Mallory Hall Photography
Custom Embroidery: Great Stitch
Striped Envelopes: Party Prepaganda
Blue Lobster Party Supplies: When I Was Your Age
Party Favor Sailboat Shaped Boxes: Piggy Bank Parties
Glass Jars and Glass Containers: Specialty Bottle
Wooden Utensils: When I Was Your Age
Paper Straws & Balloons: MoreSprinkledJoy
Sixlets, Jolly Ranchers, M&Ms: Lolli and Pops
Chocolate Covered Oreos: EZ Favors Lollipop Shop
 Custom Sugar Cookies: O Sweet Cakes
Indigo Blue Party Table: Rhonda Byers